Liturgy and Speculative Poetry

While I am typing up an ICFA recap post, I wanted to spend a few minutes talking about liturgy (because this is something every writer gal likes to talk about on Friday night). Except it happens to be Good Friday. And there was a time when I wrote a weird kind of liturgy for my church. There was a year I spent pouring over the stories from the Bible, and rather than judge them or pick them rhetorically apart or start arguing with them or using them to back up my world view, I simply listened to them. I wondered what it would be like to hammer a man’s head into the ground in order to save a battle or to have ordered the killing of another human and having to live with that decision for the rest of your life. I wondered what it was like to be the outcast, the cannibal, the other, and the oppressor. And from that year came a manuscript of these monologues, some of which have recently been published, or are forthcoming. Here a few you can read online. The “PTL, circa 1981” isn’t part of that series, but thought you might be interested since it’s the story I came from.

“Jael,” Strange Horizons

“Tamar,” Strange Horizons

Paul: An Unpublished Letter (for Stephen), Liquid Imagination (link is fixed)

“On Eating a Child,” Danse Macabre

“Jericho,” Danse Macabre

“Jepthath,” Danse Macabre

PTL, circa 1981,” storySouth

And “Magdalene” will be forthcoming from Neon soon.


One thought on “Liturgy and Speculative Poetry

  1. Nancy, I’ve yet to read them all, but am reeling from their power. I love all that is packed into these lines:

    every step,
    a bruise closer
    to the serpent’s head.

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